Sunday, August 31, 2008

Climbing Through Windows

I had a little adventure.  Yesterday evening I went out with some of the other SALI interns and after dinner a few of them wanted to go to the mall.  I was pretty tired and my stomach was acting up a little to I decided to go home.  Julie, being the sweet girl that she is agreed to share a taxi with me and we rode home.  So far, so go.  

When we reached our street, however, we realized that we only had a working key to the front gate.  At first we thought that this wasn't a problem, Sarah, in theory, was supposedly home and we could knock and easily get in.  Unfortunately, when we knocked we received no answer.  Being the control freak that I am, this really bothered me.  I wanted to get in and it wasn't fair that I couldn't.  (Can we say "Me monster"?)

So after a few minutes of knocking and whining from yours truly, I decided to try another approach.  On the stairwell there is a little wall, partly thick blocks of glass, partly sheet rock... or something.  So I climbed up on the wall and reached for our kitchen window.  To my delight one side was unlocked.  To Julie's horror, I climbed over the wall and into our kitchen.  Quite exciting.

The one thing I wish was that I was better about accepting the little bumps in my perfect routine (-eye roll-).  Hopefully, that is something God will e fixing in me.  Thankfully, He never gives up on even the most stubborn of his sheep.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

How You Live

"A great many things determine how people live, and money is not at the top of the list.  Choices are always available.  What you choose will depend on how you see things: yourself, your work, your right to express taste and desire and personality, you understanding of the love of God as expressed in His creation and order and harmony."

Currently, I am reading a book that a church friend sent me called These Strange Ashes by Elizabeth Elliot.  In this book she shares the faith lessons from her first year as a missionary.  The first few chapters so far have been talking about one of the stops she and her friend took before their final destination to mission to the Colorado Indians in South America.  The description of the missionary family's house that they stayed in is, to my spoiled, North American eyes, appalling.  It is dark, dank, surrounded by feces and smells that I am rather thankful to say I've never had to experience before.  To be honest it made me feel like a spoiled missionary.  I live in an apartment with running water, electricity, a washing machine, and clean furniture.  (Not to mention a Starbucks at the local mall).  But what I appreciated about Elliot's description was her honesty.  

I wanted to get out of this place.  The depression it brought me made e feel guilty, for I thought at the time that the ugliness and squalor and lack of privacy were sacrifices appropriate for a servant of the lord.  If I did not like the atmosphere it must mean that I was not yet prepared to lay down my life s I had promised.

I don't know what conclusions she comes to at the end of the book yet, but it is a comfort to hear such a strong woman of faith being honest about her reaction to this sort of situation.  I'm excited to learn about how God grew her and prepared her for future mission work and I hope He is doing the same in my life.  For now I will rest in the fact that you don't have to go to a foreign country or live in squalor to be a missionary.  Each of us have different mission fields whether it's in the US (which is just as lost as the rest of the world), Africa, or South America.  What God calls us to do is to "make disciples of the nations".  Pray for opportunities and do not be afraid.  God will give you the words when the time comes.

Final note from Elliot:

"'And God saw that it was good.'  Was it possible that E.T. and his wife [The missionary family] saw their way of living as good?  It was possible indeed.  Perhaps they really liked it.  Perhaps, on the other hand, they chose this way as appropriate to a bondslave of Jesus Christ.  They worked in a "dark" place - a place without the light of Christ - and they were willing to live in darkness."  

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Apartment

Yes, this is the fifth time I've moved this summer.  Hopefully we're done.  =P

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yesterday I experienced my first earthquake.  I didn't find out about it until four hours later because I didn't feel it.  It happened around 4 o'clock during my conversation class and Caleb, the director of SALI, told me about it at 8 o' clock.  Rather anticlimactic to say the very least.  But to be honest, I'd rather anticlimactic then have anybody get hurt.  Yay for my first earthquake!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Make Straight What was Twisted

Dear Lord Jesus,

Sin has twisted this world.  It has made us forget who You are, made us strive to build kingdoms for ourselves rather then for you, and has caused us to seek out worshipers for ourselves.  It has brought wars and illness, racism and oppression, jealousy and hatred, self-consciousness and fear, depression, anger, foolishness, pain, self-righteousness, deceit, theft, murder, gossip, grief, loss, restlessness, doubt, pride, vanity, sloth, gluttony, and waste.  We live for ourselves and wonder why we are never fulfilled.  Our plans fall through and like fools we curse your name.  Only when we need something to we turn to you.  All of us have gone astray, all of us have made idols of ourselves rather then you.  Even as I pray this prayer I sin against you as my mind wonders.

Lord, make straight what sin has twisted.  The war has been won.  You defeated sin and death on the cross, but we still have battles to fight.  Work through us!  Show yourself in Your people.  Help us be light unto the world because You shine through us!  Build Your kingdom through us and knock down our kingdoms of sand.  Help us realize that our purpose is to serve You!  That our souls are restless until they find rest in you!  Forgive me for my self-righteousness.  Forgive me for my pride.  Forgive me for trying to build a kingdom for me, full of worshipers of me.  Help me to strive to build Your kingdom, full of worshipers for you!

In Your precious and holy name I pray, Amen.

Update Number 2

My jump rope broke!  It snapped it half!  How weird is that?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today's Update

I am learning to be more flexible.  And my lesson planning is taking much less time then before.  To all you teachers out there, I salute you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Goal Obtained

Yay!  I finally did it!  I jump roped for thirty minutes!  Now I am really tired.  Maybe it wasn't worth it.  Hurray for me!  I just hope I didn't wake anyone up this morning, but Sarah was still conked out so I guess I'm good.  Now to stop eating so much at.... every meal of the day.  Crud.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Matthew 7:21-33

'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'  Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!'

Early in this passage, Jesus says that "only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" will enter the kingdom.  At first glance, His rejection of those claiming to do good works in His name seems contradictory.  After all, they are apparently doing things to right the world twisted by sin.  However, with a closer look at the means of salvation, the reader can see that it is not contradictory at all.  

Romans 3: 10-12 says "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."  This causes us to question what it means to be righteous.  We see people all the time helping the poor, feeding the sick, and doing all sorts of kind things for others, and yet the bible calls us all dead in sin (Eph. 2:1).  So how do we reconcile this?  Our immediate reaction is to believe the bible is contradictory.  We all want to agree with Helen Keller in saying that everyone is basically good, because we don't want to believe that everyone is basically evil.  

It would help if we first define what it means to do good.  Matthew 7: 21 reconciles this.  Jesus defines righteousness by saying that only those who do the will of the Father will enter the kingdom.  Therefore, only good works that are specifically God's will are actually good works.  Isaiah 64:6 says that 'our righteous acts are like filthy rags'.  So who can enter the kingdom?

Only one man ever did the will of the Father.  Philippians 2: 5-11 tells us of Christ doing the will of the Father, and He was therefore glorified.  Only Christ can enter the Kingdom of Heaven on His own works, his own merit.  

So how on earth can we enter the kingdom?  Matthew 7:24-27 clears this up.  We must build our lives on Christ, put our faith in His works and merit and not our own.  Thankfully we do not have to initiate this.  Eph. 2:8-9 says that grace saves us.  

So I end my rather discombobulated argument with Paul's praise: "Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Saturday, August 02, 2008

What I Am Reading

The Problem of Pain.

It is amazing.  Of course it isn't scripture, and I don't always agree with what C.S. Lewis has to say, but he is an extremely deep thinker, and argues extremely well.  Read it.